Interop Preview: Wi-Fi, Mesh Networks High On Vendors' To-Do Lists

With the Interop trade show set to open next week in Las Vegas, several vendors are getting the jump on the event by breaking news in what figures to be one of the show's key areas -- wireless networks.

On Tuesday, Cisco Systems announced an alliance led primarily by Intel, Nokia and Research In Motion (RIM) that seeks to drive enterprise adoption of voice-ready wireless networks. Cisco's contribution to this -- an updated Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX) program -- provides voice-ready wireless capabilities that its partners can build on to bring voice over Wi-Fi to the enterprise.

Ben Gibson, Cisco's director of mobility solutions, says the introduction of CCX into wireless will enable developers to take the technology into areas it hasn't been able to reach before.

"By expanding the scope of the program to include mobile systems, we'll be able to ensure the highest level of reliability in wireless networks," he says. "We think this area will be one of our key drivers for growth over the next few years."

Sponsored post

Voice-ready wireless allows enterprises to extend the mobility benefits of wireless data networks to their voice tasks, and Cisco and CCX will enable Intel, Nokia, RIM and others to enhance their own technology with the new features.

"They can build voice-ready wireless into their devices and apply cellular network functionality and quality to their wireless LANs," Gibson says.

Among the benefits are greater voice over Wi-Fi caller security, improved roaming in campus environments, more management features that can detect and mitigate RF interference, longer battery life, call prioritization and analysis of voice attributes, such as jitter, delay and loss.

In a separate announcement, Airgo Networks, which works closely with Cisco's Linksys division as well as NetGear, released the NetGear RangeMax 240 Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter (WPNT121) and the Linksys SRX 400 USB 2.0 Adapter (WUSB54GX4), both of which are based on Airgo Gen3 True MIMO chips. When used in combination with other Airgo routers already on the market, the USB adapters provide a faster-than-Ethernet wireless connectivity solution for all networked devices on home WLANs, including desktops, workstations and notebooks. The adapters eliminate the need for Ethernet cable installation or internal wireless card installation for PC users.

Finally, Firetide this week launched a new program to educate and certify its channel partners in mesh networking. The program includes online courseware, product Webcasts and hands-on-training that educate VARs about best practices in wireless network deployment and provides information about Firetide's HotPort mesh networks and HotView Pro mesh management software.

Firetide offers two certifications: Firetide Certified Technical Expert (FCTE) and Firetide Certified Educator Expert (FCEE). To achieve these, VARs must meet technology knowledge prerequisites, attend technical Webcasts and pass a Product Specialist two-day instructor-led training class. Those achieving FCEE certification will be eligible to train others on Firetide products.

The certification program's training and testing locations currently include China and selected cities throughout the United States, with additional U.S. and international locations to be announced.